Environmental pollution

Tamil Nadu: Villagers claim ONGC pipeline in Nagapattinam district developed fourth leak in 45 days

The alleged that company officials did not arrive to fix the pipe, which lies below an irrigation canal, for at least six hours.

An oil and gas leak was allegedly detected at an underground pipeline of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation in Mathirimangalam village in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district on Sunday, The News Minute reported. The villagers claimed that this was the fourth time the pipeline had leaked in the past 45 days.

Residents of Mathirimangalam village have been demanding that the oil pipeline be replaced, Tamil YB channel Polimer News reported. They alleged that ONGC officials did not arrive to fix the pipeline, which lies is below an irrigation canal, for at least six hours. The villagers are worried about the leak as the site has a number of houses.

“We have complained to the collector and the superintendent of police multiple times, but to no avail,” said Vimal, a resident of the village. “Every time they come and do some patchwork on the 20-year-old pipe, and it starts leaking again. Once, the whole thing even caught fire.”

The villagers also claimed that the pipeline was connected to an ONGC gas collection station. “This is not a garden for the ONGC to fix things by closing a valve,” environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman said. “The root cause has to be addressed. If it connects to a gas station, then that would mean that produced water can leak out of these pipes.”

This is not the first time a gas leak was reported from an ONGC pipeline. On August 9, samples of soil, groundwater and surface water examined from Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam had revealed that hydrocarbon operations by ONGC and the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited were harming the environment. The study had confirmed that the ONGC had not employed the best international practices while responding to the oil spill in Kathiramangalam on June 30.

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